After hesitating for a brief moment, Cheng Xi greeted Meng Qingyang back with a smiling expression. “It’s good to see you, Miss Meng.”
Lin Fan’s mother, somewhat surprised, asked, “Do the two of you know each other?”
Meng Qingyang nonchalantly said, “Yes, Dr. Cheng’s a good person.”
Lin Fan’s mother looked at Cheng Xi again curiously. “That’s good, then.” She patted Meng Qingyang’s hand. “Let me speak with Cheng Xi for a little bit. Wait here for me, alright?”
“Alright.” Meng Qingyang even waved at Cheng Xi amiably. “Goodbye, Dr. Cheng.”
Cheng Xi had seen how temperamental Meng Qingyang could be, so her demure behavior now only felt strange to her. However, she didn’t say anything and brought Lin Fan’s mother into her office instead. “Would you like something to drink?”
Lin Fan’s mother shook her head. “Don’t bother. Let’s just talk.”
Cheng Xi nonetheless still poured her a glass of water before sitting down, facing her.
The gaze that Lin Fan’s mother was directing towards Cheng Xi was exceptionally kind, reminding her of a similar gaze that she had seen many years ago, when Cheng Xi and Lin Fan had been walking through the streets on a school-sanctioned extracurricular activity. When they ran into Lin Fan’s mother, she had looked at her with a similar gaze that was part kind, part gratifying, and part frustrated, saying, “My little Lin Fan also has a friend now.”
At that time, Cheng Xi hadn’t noticed her frustration, but now, as Lin Fan’s mother kept talking, Cheng Xi finally understood what it meant.
Lin Fan’s mother’s speech was long-winded, with two main points. “Cheng Xi, you’re a good child, and I like you very much. I’ve liked you since your high school days. However, you’re not compatible with Lin Fan—he’s suffered through a rough childhood with me, and I don’t want him to suffer anymore. I want him to have an outstanding and successful career.”
So while she did like Cheng Xi, she felt that Cheng Xi couldn’t help Lin Fan.
Cheng Xi listened passively. Only when Lin Fan’s mother finished talking did she ask, “Mrs. Lin, does Lin Fan know that you reached out to me today?”
“I haven’t told him, but I know that you’re a sensible child, and I’ve always liked you. So, I’m sure you won’t do anything that would embarrass both of us later on.” She then leaned in and asked surreptitiously, “You don’t want to do this either, do you?”
Cheng Xi had long since predicted that Lin Fan’s mother would oppose their relationship, having heard all about her aspirations and plans for Lin Fan. All of this was within her predictions, but she didn’t treat it like an obstacle. Lin Fan wasn’t a piece of dough to be kneaded and rolled around, and neither was she. She felt that she and Lin Fan could definitely be happy together. Although she wouldn’t be able to further his career very much, she definitely wouldn’t be pulling him down either.
Furthermore, if Lin Fan wanted to start a business, she had a few connections of her own.
With that in mind, Cheng Xi asked her second question. “Mrs. Lin, what would you consider a successful life?”
Without missing a beat, Lin Fan’s mother replied, “Money and power! We don’t have any power, so we can only focus on making money. Lots and lots of money.” She looked at Cheng Xi, her gaze revealing her naked ambition, so calm that one couldn’t even dislike her. “I know that you definitely can’t understand my thoughts. But no matter what, I only want Lin Fan to be able to live a carefree life, without needing to suffer through hardships or be forced to do something he doesn’t want to because of money.”
“Mrs. Lin, do you feel that having both money and power will allow one to lead a carefree life?”
She was so certain, so full of confidence, that Cheng Xi didn’t try to persuade her otherwise—someone who felt this deeply about a subject wouldn’t be easily persuaded by mere words.
Lin Fan’s mother hadn’t come to be persuaded by her, either; these words were ones that she had always kept in her heart, hidden away from everyone else. Once she revealed them, she could only forge forward on that path of hers relentlessly.
Cheng Xi then asked her final question. “If I’m unwilling to separate with Lin Fan, then what will you do, Mrs. Lin?”
“I’ll do my best to make you two break up.” Lin Fan’s mother’s expression was severe. “Cheng Xi, do you know how I managed to escape with him that year? He had to threaten to kill himself. He was only twelve, but he put a knife by his neck and told me, ‘Mom, if I die, will there be peace again?’ Do you know how I’ve lived all these years? I’m 38, but I married an old man whose hair is turning white. So many people have looked down upon me, and even my stepchildren guard against me as if I were a thief. They look down on Lin Fan in the same way. I was weak for half of my life, so I caused him to suffer so much. Now, I don’t want him to have to suffer anymore. I don’t want him to be looked down upon for the rest of his life…… Though you might feel that wealth won’t necessarily bring you respect, it’ll definitely at least shut their mouths! It’s just like how, if I bring their old man out to discipline those sons and daughters of his, what can they do?” As she said this last sentence, her face reflected a bit of pride, as if she had won a spiritual victory.
“Did you see that girl just now? If you know her, then you should know that she and Lin Fan are colleagues, but only colleagues. She’s a board member of Longchang Commerce—oh, perhaps you don’t know about Longchang Commerce. It’s the domestic proxy for a number of large global brands, which you’d probably recognize if I mentioned them.” She rattled off a few companies, and even though Cheng Xi herself didn’t care about these things, she knew that most people in the country would go mad over those companies’ products.
Lin Fan’s mother didn’t think that this sort of relationship was immoral, and she didn’t even acknowledge the fact that if Lin Fan had such a girlfriend, people would think that they were only together because he was eyeing her position and connections. “It’s just that we’re trying to find a higher starting point. Marriage is nothing more than a job; doing it well will bring happiness.”
It was rare for Cheng Xi to be unable to counter an argument, but she was actually struck speechless after hearing Lin Fan’s mother’s ‘confident’ speech. She didn’t argue back, as she knew that Lin Fan’s mother wouldn’t listen to her; if she talked with reason, Lin Fan’s mother would appeal to emotion; if she appealed to emotion, then Lin Fan’s mother would switch to reason.
If they weren’t on the same page, then what was the point of talking any further?
Cheng Xi politely sent Lin Fan’s mother out. They didn’t see Meng Qingyang at the entrance, and Lin Fan’s mother directly left after making a phone call.
Cheng Xi stood by the elevator. As she watched the doors close, the smile on her face finally collapsed. She rubbed her exhausted face, lightly breathing out.
As she turned around, she unexpectedly saw Meng Qingyang, who had told Lin Fan’s mother that she had already gone down. She was standing by the elevator on the other end of the corridor; it wasn’t clear if she had just come up or if she had always been standing there.
At this hour, there weren’t many people left in this area of the hospital. Only the two of them stood in the corridor.
Cheng Xi stopped moving, merely looking at Meng Qingyang.
Meng Qingyang slowly walked in front of Cheng Xi as a brilliant smile lit up her face. “Mrs. Lin likes me very much, and wants me to be her daughter-in-law. Dr. Cheng, I really want to reject her because you’re a good person, and because I like you very much.”
At this point, Cheng Xi wanted to laugh. Today, she had been told that she was a good person by two different people; they both said they liked her very much, but hidden behind their liking was a ‘but.’
Meng Qingyang’s ‘but’ was that “Lin Fan’s genuinely a very gentle person, and he looks so beautiful when he smiles. At first, I didn’t want to steal him away, but Dr. Cheng, why did you have to make him unhappy?”
After being lectured in psychology by Lu Chenzhou, Cheng Xi was now being taught how to be a better girlfriend by Meng Qingyang. This girl who had just broken free of her depression said, “Dr. Cheng, you’re not doing a very good job at being a girlfriend. Even if we ignore the fact that you don’t have any time to spend with him, you still have an unclear relationship with another man. You always make him unhappy, forcing him to drink, making him wan and sallow. For you, he even hurt me.”
As she said this, she rolled up her sleeves and stretched out her hand with an innocent expression on her face. “Look at how forceful he was. He even left such a big bruise. It hurts so much.”